The Budkavle


In ancient Sweden the Budkavle was a Message Stick which was sent in all directions to alert villagers of an impending invasion. The Budkavle consisted of Clubs, or Arrows or just pieces of wood with a message burnt into it, and woe betide anybody that broke the chain, they could be hanged, and their house burnt to the ground. In Australia we aren’t that drastic.

The Budkavle was introduced into Australia by founding member of Kareelah Orienteers Bjorn Blomstedt, who based it on the Swedish Tiomilla or ten Swedish miles. The Australian version was an overnight relay of seven legs of multi classes for both women and Men’s teams and commonly known as Bjorn's Midnight Madness, as the event started at midnight and finished in the early hours of daylight. Each team had a message stick (Budkavle) on a leather cord around their neck that was passed on to the next team member at the changeover.

The Budkavle  was held from 1975 until 1997 and went through a number of Incarnations, ie, moving the start time from Midnight to 4AM to accommodate the reduced number of Orienteers that could run at night. Another change was the introduction of a five-person relay or “Mini Budkavle, an additional revolution was the “Women’s Budkavle” in 1986, also unofficial multi club teams were conducted on an ”Ad Hoc” basis. 

See Link for historical results - The Budkavle

Pictured below is an image of an original Swedish Budkavle Stick.

If you know someone who speaks Swedish, they may be able to translate it for you.